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“I know you worry about disappointing your father, but he's already disappointed with you. Now what do you say we go to park and walk together a little, hon?”
Franz Kafka was one of the great 20th century German lawyers whose absurd and often dark arguments in the German courts has made him one of the most respected attorneys today. This is despite the fact that most of his arguments were made posthumously, despite his request that they be destroyed. His clients were often annoyed or even angered that the insecure Franz refused to allow others to read his arguments, and most of them were sentenced to death due to his silence, but it is widely believed that they are among the most surreal and effective arguments ever put forth.
Kafka wrote short stories to support his hobby, as he saw it, of Law. Kafka despised the mindless tedium of the writer's desk, and Law was his escape. Unlike many at the time, though, it was impossible for somebody to make a living in being a lawyer and accountant, and was forced to turn to art to support himself.
edit Famous Arguments
Franz represented well over 100 defendants in his lifetime, and while he wrote cases for all of them, only a few were heard during his lifetime due to a crippling insecurity. Franz did not believe his writings to be true legal documents, nor did he cosnider himself a lawyer out of respect for his lawyer idols.
edit Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis)
Kafka represented a defendant, Gregor Samsa, accused of robbing a local bakery on the morning of June 18, 1914. The defendant had a rather unusual alibi that Kafka was forced to prove.
" As Gregor Samsa awoke on the morning of June 18, 1914, the date in question, from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was lying on his hard, as it were armor-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his dome-like brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. In this state it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for Mr. Samsa to have broken the lock on the bakery door after tests conducted by acredited officials showed that it would have taken a person with peculiar flexibility to have done so. Mr. Samsa's state was later confirmed by two independant doctors, with only the company sick-insurance doctor dissenting that Mr. Samsa was fine, though he considered all of mankind to be perfectly healthy malingerers."
edit In der Strafkolonie (In The Penal Colony)
Kafka represented two employees of a Penal Colony and a foreign traveler accused of killing one of the colony's officers, though he may have died using drugs with the aid of a very complicated machine. The machine, a large contraption consisting of many needles which went directly into the body, had just been used by the soldier when the officer entered it, at which point the machine malfunctioned.
"“Help,” the Traveler yelled, an obvious attempt to save the Officer, and grabbed the Officer’s feet. He wanted to push against the feet himself and have the two others grab the Officer’s head from the other side, so he could be slowly taken off the needles. But now the two men could not make up their mind whether to come or not, possibly due to their induced state. At this point, almost against his will, he looked at the face of the corpse. It was as it had been in his life. He could discover no sign of the promised transfiguration, or "high." What all the others had found in the machine, the Officer had not. His lips were pressed firmly together, his eyes were open and looked as they had when he was alive, his gaze was calm and convinced. The tip of a large iron needle had gone through his forehead. He was totally not freaking out, man."
edit Das Schloß (The Castle)
Kafka represented a plaintiff suing for the right to enter a Castle. K., the man in question, was never told why he was denied entrance to the castle, but demanded entrance regardless. Kafka and K. continually set court dates for the hearing of this case, but they kept being extended and delayed, and the court never actually came to trial. K. died waiting for admission to the court to allow admission to the castle.
Kafka had written a particularly long argument for this case, but his longer arguments tended to get really boring and have all kinds of unnecessary dialogue.
Kafka died in 1924, alone in a sanitarium. However, whether or not it was truly a tragedy is debatable. He was a jew living in Germany, and only a few decades later Hitler rose to power and had all the jews interred in concentration camps. Kafka would have been rather old by then and most certainly would have been one of the first to the gas chambers, and his written arguments would have likely been destroyed by Nazi soldiers along with his other possessions. So yeah, dying young and alone without anybody loving you does seem sad, but sometimes that's just the kind of luck you have. The luck that says "you're dying miserably now, but you'd be dying even more miserably later. So buck up, champ, life is good."